What Your Poop Says About You
Okay, there’s no proper way to start a post all about poop so I’m just gonna dive right in. Y'all know how much I love talking about digestive health, and there’s really no better indicator of optimal digestive function then by looking at the very last part of the process, your poop.
Honestly, I think nutritionists would get a way better idea of how their clients’ digestive tract is working by asking more questions about their bathroom breaks versus their eating patterns and symptoms experienced. For example, having chronic diarrhea or being constipated are both indicators that your body is not digesting food properly, and left untreated could lead to some serious problems.
Our digestive function is not only a product of the food we eat, but results from our level of stress we are experiencing as well as the state of our current health. Regardless if you are eating a clean diet, if you have high levels of stress in your life, your digestive system will be in a constant state of “fight or flight,” meaning the nutrients from that kale salad you’ve been eating are not being utilized effectively.
Our large intestine is the last part of the puzzle in the game of Digestion Jigsaw. Our large intestine houses 70% of our immune system! By eating processed foods and unrefined sugar, then you are weakening your immune system, and this is only going to add to poor digestive function. By taking a better look at your bowel movements (aka BM’s) you can get a better picture of how well your digestive system is functioning and the steps you need to take to improve it. Let’s dive in, shall we?
Zoom in on your Poop
Okay, now I’m sure you are probably wondering why you are still reading this article. But in fact, the way our poop looks alone can tell us if there is any malfunction along our digestive tract. And I’m not just talking about it’s shape, but colour, size, frequency, and even smell all play a big role in the screenplay What your Poo is Telling You.
50 Shades of Poop
Medium Brown: This is the ideal color of poop we are striving for. Yes, in a very twisted world we could call this Poop Goals. Medium brown indicates that there is a healthy amount of bilirubin in the intestines that mixes with bacteria and turns your poop brown. Bilirubin is formed in the liver by the breakdown of hemoglobin (a red protein responsible for transporting oxygen in the blood).
Dark Brown: A darker shade of brown indicates there is old fecal waste, and that you would benefit from a detox protocol.
Dark/Black: A darker or black shade indicates that there may be dried blood in your stool, potentially because of a bleed along the upper gastrointestinal tract. It would be wise to see a Doctor if this is the case.
Green: Green poo likely indicates that you are eating leafy greens and vegetables, and this is completely normal. In fact, we should all strive for some green in our poo. But if your green poop is also diarrhea, this could mean that your food isn’t being processed properly by the digestive tract and is being expelled too fast, which gives it a green tone.
Red/Maroon: If you have eaten red foods such as beets then your stools will be a red tinge, which is normal too! If your stools are showing bright red this could be a sign of fresh blood and may indicate a bleed in your lower digestive tract. Blood in the stools can also be a sign of hemorrhoids. Either way, blood should not be present in your poop, and you should book in with your Doctor to get this checked out.
Yellow: Yellow stool indicates that you may have a potential intestinal condition. Cirrhosis of the liver, hepatitis, or gallstones that are blocking the bile ducts in your gallbladder can all cause a yellowish tinge to your poop. This definitely needs checking out!
The size and shape of your poop is also indicative of how well your digestive tract is functioning. The Bristol Stool Chart is an excellent resource. Even though poop comes in many different forms, these are the main 7 ones and your own poop should usually fall into one of these categories. Let’s explore, shall we?
Type 1: Small hard lumps, that are sometimes difficult to pass. Yep, you are likely constipated. BM’s should be smooth and easy, and if you’re straining on the toilet then your digestion is likely off.
Type 2: This can also indicate constipation! Yes it’s more formed, but lumpy can mean you were experiencing difficulty in the bathroom.
Type 3: Okay back to the poop goals talk. This is your ideal BM, Magic is likely happening along your intestinal tract if you get to experience these on the daily. These poops should be passes without urgency or straining. You leave the bathroom feeling happy and evacuated. Good job, keep doing what you’re doing.
Type 4: Once again, these are a little bit smoother than the turd above but is the ideal candidate you’d like to see running for your poop campaign.
Type 5, 6, & 7: Not ideal, but better than being constipated if you had to pick from my lovely list of types of poop. These all group into loose stools or diarrhea. Food poisoning, dehydration, a nasty bug, stress of anxiety, or something more serious could be the cause of your code liquid brown. If it goes away after a day or two, let’s not worry about it, but chronic diarrhea should be brought up to your Doc.
How often should you poop? I get asked this question all the time. And you know what? Everybody is different. Some people have their daily newspaper browse every morning at the same time, while others gear up for a good social media scroll right before bed. It honestly depends. Personally, I think you should have 1-2 bowel movements per day. Afterall, what goes in, must come out. The digestive process takes approximately 24 hours after you’ve eaten your meal, so ideally you should be going at least once a day unless you are starving yourself.
I think we can all agree on the fact that poop smells, regardless. So no, I don’t have any answers for you about making your poop smell lovely. But I do recommend buying the Poo Pourri! If your time in the bathroom also involves you holding your own breath, then it’s likely your poop is too smelly. Cut back on processed foods that likely contain synthetic ingredients, and instead eat a diet rich in whole foods. Eating a diet high in fat can lead to undigested fat in the stool, and if you don’t create the right amount of lipase to digest these fats, then these fats can putrefy leading to a terrible foul smell on the way out.
Lactose intolerance is extremely common these days, so if you’re extra stinky, I’d suggest cutting out the dairy. Your body is unable to produce the enzyme (lactase) responsible for breaking down the dairy, so the undigested dairy ends up in your large intestine and is fermented by bacteria, which worsens the smell!
Okay, we are done with the poop talk! I hope you are still with me.
The best way to ensure your digestion is running smoothly is to regularly cleanse your system. Yes, you can buy fancy teas and supplements but the most important thing you can do is eat a clean diet. By increasing your greens, drinking the right fluids, and incorporating intermittent fasting, your body can begin to cleanse out your digestive tract. This not only will help your digestion run smoothly, but you will feel increased energy, eliminate bloating, reduce cravings, and overall feel amazing.
You’ll be sporting a new and improved digestive system right before the holidays! And don’t worry, this cleanse is only 7 days, so you shouldn’t have to miss out on too many gingerbread cookies!
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